Monday, October 22, 2012

Sproose Joose II IPA - Black Husky Brewing

Black Husky Brewing, for those of you who remember from my earlier review of their Hefe Weiss is a small nano-brewery in Pembine, Wisconsin that produces a variety of well-brewed beers.  In fact, since I posted my previous Black Husky review, they have expanded their presence in the Milwaukee area, and all over Wisconsin for that matter.  So now, if you live in Wisconsin, you should be able to find a selection of Black Husky beers at a bar near you!

One of their most popular ales is the Sproose Joose II IPA, brewed with high alpha hops and local spruce tips.  In fact, it was so popular that Tim Eichinger, the head brewer, rolled out an “Imperial” version of Sproose Joose this past Friday (I will have a review up on it this Wednesday).

             So, a beer popular enough to inspire an Imperial version of itself must be good, right?  The Spruce tips in it sound like an interesting addition, to push the envelope a little, while remaining in the IPA and Double IPA wheelhouse.  So, without further ado, on to the review.

             On Beeradvocate, Sproose Joose has an 89.  Over at ratebeer it has an 86 overall and a 36 for style.  As usual, ratebeer comes in a little low and offers a rock bottom 36 for style.  Ratebeer often comes in low, and as always the scores at the beer rating sites should be taken with a grain of salt and should never drive your beer buying or beer drinking decisions.

They say:

A Black Husky innovation, this double IPA is brewed with high alpha hops and locally harvested spruce tips. Like Lothar the Biter, this beer has an aggressive biting flavor with a pungent yet citrusy aroma.

I say:

             Sproose Joose pours a slightly hazy gold with a thick, creamy, white head that holds remarkable retention, throughout the entire glass.  The aroma is a massive spruce bomb, with equal parts sweet caramel malt, and grapefruit hop notes blended throughout.  The caramel notes fade as the beer warms, and the grapefruit becomes more prominent, almost but not quite dominating the spruce.

             The flavor begins with tons of spruce up front, with sweet caramel malts and a great backdrop of grapefruit, resin and hints of juniper hoppiness.  As with the aroma, the caramel notes fade as it warms allowing the spruce, resin, grapefruit and juniper to pop.

             Spruce Joose is very creamy and smooth with a slightly bitter finish that fades as it warms, which seems odd since the hop flavors become more prominent as the bitterness fades.  It is medium to full bodied with a moderate to high level of carbonation.  Perhaps the high level of carbonation leads to a bit of carbonic bite, which could explain why the perceived bitterness seems to fade as the carbonation level decreased in the glass (carbonic acid enhances the perception of bitterness).

             Well, that’s all today.  Check back on Wednesday for a review of the Imperial version of Sproose Joose, Sparkly Eyes!

             Happy Drinking!

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